If you have been injured due to the negligent or irresponsible behavior of another person, you should contact Rosenblum Law. We can help recover money to compensate you for your damages, including pain and suffering.
Get Personalized & Compassionate Care
We are a boutique law firm with family values. Call us today for a free consultation.
Rosenblum Law has handled numerous personal injury cases and is familiar with the hardships that clients face after a serious incident. Our attorneys offer a free and informative consultation. Once hired, you can expect full-service representation throughout the entire process. Read more about how an attorney can help with your personal injury case.
Rosenblum Law has decades’ worth of experience helping our valued clients recover money in a variety of cases including money needed for past and future medical bills, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering.
What Is Negligence?
Negligence is the failure to exercise the care that would be expected from a reasonable person under the circumstances. Personal injury scenarios often involve negligence that a person can be sued over, but not always. Some of the most common instances are car accidents and medical malpractice. Others include slip and fall accidents, construction mishaps and defective products that lead to injury or wrongful death.
When a motorist commits a traffic violation and it results in an accident, the offending driver can be accused of being negligent. Similarly, if a doctor or nurse fails to follow the appropriate procedures and the result is injury or disfigurement of the patient, the doctor can be sued for negligence and money can be recovered via a settlement or court verdict.
How Do You Prove Negligence in a Personal Injury Case?
To recover damages in a civil case, the plaintiff (person who is injured) will have to prove his/her case in court. To do this, his/her attorney must establish the four necessary elements of negligence: duty, breach, causation, and damages (these are technical legal terms that have been hotly debated in thousands of cases over the years).
Before bringing a negligence case to court, the plaintiff should first consult with an attorney to establish if the allegedly negligent party owes any legal duty or obligation. For example, all drivers owe the public the duty of driving safely and obeying all traffic laws.
Next, the plaintiff will have to prove that the other party breached his/her legal duty or obligation. This means evidence must be brought forth proving he/she acted recklessly or violated a reasonable standard of care. A conviction for a traffic violation, such as speeding, can be evidence of an unlawful breach of duty.
The next hurdle, which is usually the most challenging, especially in complex cases, is proving that there is a direct link between what the accused party did or did not do and the injury sustained by the plaintiff. In other words, one must prove that the negligence caused the injury. For example, if a person dies during surgery, it would have to be proven that the surgeon’s negligence was the actual cause of death. If causation is proven, then the damages can be evaluated in monetary terms.
Get Personalized & Compassionate Care
We are a boutique law firm with family values. Call us today for a free consultation.
How Much Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?
An attorney can give an estimate of the potential award by looking at the type of damages that the client can sue for. The specific damages and their estimated value will depend on the specific circumstances and facts of the case. Damages is the legal term for the money owed by the liable party to the injured party. Types of damages include:
This is money meant to cover quantifiable costs, both past and future, incurred by the accident and injury. Medical bills are the most obvious (and often largest) economic damages. But other costs might include the cost of replacing a vehicle, funeral costs, and lost wages. In addition, a person who loses mobility (e.g., is confined to a wheelchair), can seek money to renovate his/her home to accommodate the disability, such as installing ramps and lowering sink heights.
People also often underestimate the economic damage associated with emotional trauma. For example, sometimes auto accident victims require psychological therapy to help cope with the experience. These costs can add up quickly over many years and should be taken into account when applicable.
This is more commonly known as “pain and suffering.” Non-economic damages are more abstract and subjective, but an experienced attorney can identify the approximate monetary target for the level of pain and suffering in a given case.
Pain and suffering can include both physical pain–a permanent ache in one’s back or knee from an injury that will never heal–and emotional pain. This can be an obvious form of emotional pain, such as the kind resulting from the loss of a loved one. Other emotional pain is more subtle. For example, a person who paints as a hobby but is no longer able to hold a brush steadily due to a serious wrist injury will endure suffering.
This is a type of damage usually reserved for the most egregious instances of negligence. As the name implies, this is money awarded to the victim as a punishment to the liable party. Unlike other types of damages, which aim to compensate the victim, punitive damages are intended as a deterrent to both the liable party and others from engaging in such negligent behavior in the future.
However, the amount of damages is not the only factor in determining the final award. After everything else is calculated, a judge and sometimes a jury must also take into account comparative fault (see below).
What Is Comparative Fault and How Does It Impact Personal Injury Cases?
New Jersey applies what is known as the comparative fault model for personal injury cases. This means that the final amount awarded is reduced by the amount that a judge or jury deems the victim to be at fault in the accident.
For example, in a car crash, the victim may have had a window of opportunity to hit the brakes or steer out of the way, either of which could have reduced the level of impact in a head-on collision. This may not have avoided the accident entirely, but it could be deemed a responsibility on the part of the victim that was neglected and thereby contributed to the increased severity of the crash.
Suppose in this scenario the victim is assigned 20% of the accident’s responsibility. When a judge and jury determine the damages to be $1 million, the amount given to the victim will be reduced by 20% for a final settlement award of $800,000.
It’s important to note that New Jersey does not allow a person who is more than 50% at fault to sue another party for an accident. An experienced personal injury attorney can help to assess the amount of liability for each of the parties involved.
How Long Will My Personal Injury Case Take?
The time it can take for a person to receive an award from a personal injury case can vary dramatically. In most cases, it takes around 2 years. But not all cases are that simple. For simple cases involving smaller awards, it is possible to receive money sooner. However, more complex or serious cases may take far longer.
To give a sense of how long it can take, a personal injury case often encompasses the following steps:
- Consultation with the attorney
- Negotiation with the liable parties and/or insurance companies
- Filing court documents
- Discovery (both parties exchange evidence)
- Pre-trial motions and hearings
- Settlement negotiations
- Post-trial motions and appeal
- Collecting settlement/judgement
In particular, if the liable party chooses to appeal a ruling, it can delay payment for several more months or years. In addition, if a trial is expected, an attorney may spend a considerable amount of time interviewing and securing expert witnesses who can testify not just to the liable party’s negligence, but also to the level of injuries, amount of suffering, and the potential long-term consequences of the accident.
How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim?
In most cases, a person has two years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit in New Jersey. This is known as the statute of limitations.
There are some exceptions to this statute of limitations. The first is that if a child is injured the case can be filed up to 2 years after his/her 18th birthday. The same is true of a child whose injuries occurred at birth if the child was born before July 2004. (A child born after July 2004 has until his/her 13th birthday.)
When it comes to medical malpractice on an adult, a person has up to 2 years from the point at which a reasonable person might realize that malpractice has occurred.
What Types of Matters Can I Sue For?
- Bus accidents
- Brain injuries
- Bike accidents
- Boat accidents
- Car accidents
- Class action lawsuits
- Construction accidents
- Dog bites
- Medical malpractice
- Motorcycle accidents
- Nursing home abuse
- Pedestrian accidents
- Premises liability
- Products liability
- Slip and fall accidents
- Spinal cord injuries
- Toxic substance injuries
- Truck accidents
- Wrongful death
What Can a Skilled Personal Injury Attorney Do for Me?
There are personal injury lawyers that spend large sums on advertising – but that doesn’t mean that they are the best in the business. Who you choose as your legal team can make a huge difference in how you are treated, how your case is handled, and what the outcome will be.
There are many ways that an attorney can help someone who has suffered a personal injury:
- An attorney can evaluate the injury to determine what type of compensation one can potentially receive from the claim and who it can be recovered from.
- An attorney who is a skilled and experienced negotiator is more likely to obtain a more substantial monetary settlement.
- An attorney can make sure that the claim is given the attention it deserves and that the injured party is compensated in a timely manner by communicating with the other party’s insurance company and/or legal team.
- An attorney can take the matter to trial and present a case with the best chance of winning compensation.
As such, it’s a worthwhile investment of time to research your options when it comes to hiring a New Jersey personal injury lawyer.
What to Do After an Accident
Seek medical attention. Even if it seems at first that one has not been hurt, a slip, burn, crash, or any other type of accident should be followed immediately by a trip to the doctor. In some cases, especially those involving a blow to the head, signs of an injury can go unnoticeable for weeks or months.
While at the doctor, discuss openly and honestly about both the cause of the injury and how one has been feeling since it happened. This is especially true about pain; no matter how minor it may seem, always mention any pain one has been feeling.
It is important not to embellish or exaggerate. At the same time, do not downplay anything either. Simply be thorough and honest.
Furthermore, it’s important to follow the advice of medical professionals following an accident or injury. Failure to do so could reduce any reward one is owed, as a judge or jury may see this noncompliance as contributing to one’s suffering.
Consult an attorney. As soon as possible, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss the situation. One should tell the attorney about the circumstances of the accident, the type of injury, and the diagnosis/advice of any doctors.
In the initial consultation, the attorney will advise whether or not one has a viable case and the potential award amount. An attorney might suggest who one should and should not talk to about the accident or injury. He/she may also discuss which documentation may be needed to help support the case.
It is important to adhere to one’s attorney’s advice just as one would adhere to medical advice. Failure to do so could result in a weaker case or a lower settlement.
Photograph the scene. This is not always easy to do, especially in the wake of a serious auto accident or even in some slip-and-fall accidents. However, it is important to make every effort to obtain photographic evidence after an injury. This might include pictures or videos of broken stairs, the condition of one’s car, ice on the pavement, the placement of objects around a yard or home, etc. Try to capture the scene at both close-up and far away angles, as well as from the perspective one had moments before the accident.
The more images one can get, the better. Videos are also helpful, including dashcam footage or security camera footage. If one is not physically able to get images due to the level of injury or other circumstances beyond one’s control, an attorney may be able to offer suggestions.
Gather other information or evidence. In any personal injury case, it is helpful for one’s attorney to interview any witnesses to the incident. A person or someone acting on his/her behalf should do everything possible to get the names and contact information of anyone who might have seen the events. While it is possible for the injured person to ask questions, an attorney is best qualified to know what to say and what to ask to get the most pertinent and most honest information.
Witnesses aren’t the only evidence one may need. Physical evidence, such as the shoes and clothing the injured person was wearing during a slip-and-fall or premises liability accident, may also be important.
File an incident report. For accidents that occur in a store, restaurant, or any other place of business, it is important to file an incident report. This may require asking for a manager or owner. The incident report should cover details of what happened, when it occurred, who was involved (e.g. a waiter dropped hot soup or a custodian knocked over a bucket of water). Anyone who witnessed the incident should also provide a statement in the report. Be sure to get a copy of the report before leaving the property if possible.
Keep a file of all medical records and expenses. No matter how serious or minor an injury, it is critical that one keeps a record of every doctor visit that is associated with the accident. This should include the outcome of every test, as well as details of doctor recommendations for recovery.
For example, if a person is prescribed 10 weeks of physical therapy, this prescription will be necessary in order to recoup costs associated with those sessions. Moreover, a person should also keep receipts for co-pays, medication (both over the counter and prescription), and medical devices. Even small costs like a cane or sling should be catalogued.
Non-medical costs associated with the accident should also be recorded. For example, if the accident prohibits one from driving, then the cost of taxis or Uber rides should also be documented. Similarly, a person whose injuries prohibit them from cooking could potentially include the increased cost of having prepared food delivered.
Don’t sign anything (without consulting with an attorney). After an accident, many insurance companies reach out to injured parties. A person may be contacted by a claims adjuster, attorney, or other specialists. In many cases, a person may be asked to sign a form. It is not unheard of for such persons to lie about what the form or forms mean and how it affects one’s rights. The bottom line: don’t sign anything without the consent of one’s attorney.
In fact, whenever possible, avoid speaking with anyone representing the persons responsible for the accident. While a person may be tempted to be honest about the facts thinking they have nothing to lose, this is not wise. An insurance company’s goal is to avoid having to make a settlement, so it will use one’s words to in any way possible twist the facts to help its case. Instead, refer them to one’s own attorney.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most people who are injured in the workplace have the option of filing for workers’ compensation benefits through the employer. These are intended to cover medical bills and a portion of lost wages. If the injury is the result of negligence on behalf of someone other than the employer or a coworker, then the injured person may have an additional personal injury claim against that third party–e.g. the manufacturer of workplace equipment.
The biggest challenge in a personal injury case is that the victim may be liable for his/her own medical bills until the case is resolved and the damages awarded. Rest assured that the right attorney will fight vigorously to obtain a sizable award as soon as possible.
Most personal injury attorneys work on a commission basis, taking a portion of the total award at the end of the case. For this reason, most attorneys will only take cases where they see a good chance of success. You should make sure the legal team you hire offers a free, no-obligation consultation, and gets paid from the settlement money awarded.
It is possible to sue solely for pain and suffering. For example, in a wrongful death lawsuit involving improper elderly care, the family may have incurred minimal or no economic loss but likely has suffered egregious emotional harm from the untimely death of a family member.